“Not invented here” – a comic strip for us

Not invented here – (Note: This URL starts you back in 2009 09 21)

“Welcome to our new comic strip, Not Invented Here.

I spent nearly two decades in the software industry. I wrote code, managed people, wrote specs, designed UI, wrote a column about technology, managed people who managed people, and even dabbled as an executive speechwriter. I’ve been an employee, a contractor, a consultant, and a founder. Eventually I realized that what I was best at was making fun of people, so I quit and became a cartoonist.”


Thanks to Larry Osterman’s blog posting for mentioning it.

Excel To KML – Display Excel files on Google Earth.

Excel To KML – Display Excel files on Google Earth.  “Import a spreadsheet of lat/long coordinates to Google Earth.  Pop-up balloons, icons, and paths are easily created from the spreadsheet data.”

It doesn’t take much to create a spreadsheet from Access.  Modules: Sample Excel Automation – cell by cell which is slow but what you could use for the heading row. Modules: Transferring Records to Excel with Automation which is very fast.

Version 2.11 of the Auto FE Updater available for download

Version 2.11 * – 2010-02-16  to download the zip file . (267 kb, 11,327 lines of code)  Note that there is no setup or install required.    You unzip the file and do the drag and drop install on an appropriate folder on your file server. 

  • Update form bug fixes
  • Start Method = Preferred Version-97 now supported.  Thanks to Tina T for requesting this.
  • If user clicks on startmdb.exe ugly null command line message now replaced with list of configuration files and a run button.  Thanks to David W Fenton for mentioning his frustration with version 2.0 so I could come up with a better solution for everyone. 

* Leading zeros aren’t supported in the version number field of the project.  Thus a hotfix became version 2.1 rather than 2.001 as I expected.  This version is 2.11 rather than 2.01

Now I must be brutally honest about the update form bugs.   Once I’d been told about them they were stupidly obvious to find.  If I had done a better job of noticing that weirdness’s were happening these never would’ve snuck through.    

Update - fixed download URL

The Tester: A reality show I just might watch

“The Tester, which will debut on February 18th, will star 11 video game fanatics who will compete against each others to determine who’s got the best skills to become a game tester.  The grand winner will be offered a job at SCEA San Diego plus $5000 as a signing bonus”  

The Tester: A New Reality Show for Gamers

What an interesting idea.   I have no idea how boring such a show would be to watch but if it’s testing games ok, I can see that.   With all due respect to the MS Access product group I suspect watching those testers test would be quite boring to an outsider.

It’s also quite interesting to talk to testers from Microsoft.   Yes, they test for the standard kind of stuff.  But I’m told the best kind of tester is a truly twisted, warped person.  Someone who takes great delight in tormenting the developer.  Ok, that last sentence is an exaggeration.  However I’ve learned that it’s impossible to make a user proof program.  A user will always, always figure out something totally different than what you meant. 

I’ve also learned that very few bugs get reported.    I do my best to fix bugs as soon as I hear about them because I’ve come to the realization that some of my bugs must be affecting many people and yet I only get one or two complaints.

I think I’m going to do my best to actually phone each person who sends me an email mentioning a problem or bug.  Especially a problem because this means I didn’t make the program smart enough or the documentation good enough.    If they mention a bug well, I’ll just fix it ASAP.

BTW I also don’t PS3 console (or any gaming system) or a television.

Version 2.0 of the Auto FE Updater

This release of the Auto FE Updater is a huge, huge improvement in developer ease of use. There’s a wizard to get you going with the basic operations in less than a minute. Need to make a change to a setting? Just a few mouse clicks as all settings are updated by forms rather than having to use Notepad as in the past.

But it’s even better. Now, with three mouse clicks, a formatted email containing a hyperlink for the users initial install of your app will be created.  Your users can be running your app with two or three mouse clicks.  (This depends on the number of hyperlink warning messages. (Sorry, nothing I can do about the email client security warnings.)

Have you looked at the Auto FE Updater in the past and decided it was rather ugly to use? The thought of editing configuration files using Notepad made you shudder with distaste?   Taking an hour or three to read somewhat confusing web pages was a task to be done next month or next year?   Visit http://www.autofeupdater.com and take a look.

(More screenshots will likely go up there in a day or so.)

I’d like to thank Tom Wickerath, Crystal Long, Clif McIrvin and Tom van Stiphout for all the suggestions and criticisms as I bounced ideas their way.   I’d also like to thank John Mishefske and Michel for their suggestions of using a listbox as an alternative to an ugly multi-line tab control.   See Interface Hall of Shame – Tabbed Dialogs down a short ways for what it could’ve looked like.  <smile>